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Objective Five - Hardware and Infrastructure

Page history last edited by olliebray@... 9 years, 4 months ago

This page has been locked and the contents passed to the Scottish Government for analysis. Thank you for all your contributions.

 

Objective 5: Strengthen position on hardware and associated infrastructure

 

UpdateThe Cabinet Secretary has expanded on this objective and set the context in a post on Engage for Education.

 

Benefits: an increase in the number of devices in use in schools; a reduction in the cost of maintenance of devices for local authorities; an increase in the connectivity for schools and local authorities; an improved awareness of connectivity speeds around the country; published research on the impact of connectivity on education, social and community services; a reduction in the cost of centrally procured or managed services; an increase in the sharing of good and interesting practice; an increase in the involvement of the education community in forming a shared understanding of excellence.

 

What do we need to do:

 

  • Open up access for privately owned devices.
  • Encourage uptake of national procurement frameworks and leasing schemes for devices
  • Continue investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure by reviewing the conditions of use of the Interconnect 2.0, increasing its capacity and considering how we can improve the “final mile” to the school desktop.
  • Collect robust research on the benefits of improved connectivity and its impact on education, social and community services
  • Openly share data and make recommendations for broadband connection speeds for schools based on school roll.
  • Discuss with telecoms companies how they can improve open access to wifi.
  • Implement the next generation of Glow, built upon freely available tools and services, and open source hosted solutions
  • Scottish Government’s online presence should model best practice, and should be a place that brings together discussion, promotes a cost-effective approach to resources, and signposts high quality content.

 

 

How will we do this:

 

  • Have a robust and upgradeable network backbone that reaches into every school in Scotland procured nationally work closely JANET(UK) experts in public procurements of this kind and linked to educational backbone of Further and Higher Education.
  • Schools and Local Authorities should have some basic standards around ICT access and infrastructure. There are lots of models around the world from institutional kite marking to local auditing systems - all aimed and open up networks and improving services for teachers and learners - one example  http://uat.generatorfeandskills.org.uk/ 
  • Formally complete the matching exercise of existing Glow tools that are available to schools to the identified list of free or cost effective alternatives that has already started on this wiki.
  • Access to Glow has been a problem for some people in the past simply because they have not had their login details issued to them by establishments. This has been a particular problem in initial teacher education establishments and for teachers who are currently not working, or on career breaks. CPD StepIN has been successful but it may be better if Glow access for teachers was directly linked to GTCS Registration number?
  • Scottish Government / Education Scotland should provide policy advice for schools and local authorities on the use of student and staff owned devices in schools. With many LAs keen to allow this model over time it makes sense that some centralised consultancy is provided to avoid unnecessary cost and re-inventing the wheel.
  • Scottish Government / Education Scotland should hold centralised information sharing events for education and corporate IT staff to discuss the benefits and challenges of opening up networks to staff and student owned devices. This could include references and sharing from local authorities where this is already going on e.g. South Lanarkshire and Shetland. These examples should also be captured by case study. Virtual drop in session could also be organised for staff via Glow Meet.
  • With so many schools and local authorities considering the leasing of devices the Scottish Government / Education Scotland should develop a national procurement framework for leasing devices if this does not exist.
  • Money has been allocated to Scotland to improve its broadband infrastructure and schools are specifically mentioned in ‘Scotland Digital Futures’. If we are serious about the use of technology in schools we need to find a way to improve the connectivity to our schools (specifically, the bandwidth for the last part, between the local authority premises and school). This has to start by calculating how much it would actually cost to improve school broadband in Scotland and by comparing Scotland’s current position to international comparators (e. g. South Korea). 
  • There needs to be industry engagement with Scotland's main telecoms companies (BT, C&W, Virgin, O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile/Orange and Three)  regarding open access wifi in schools. We may also benefit from investigating the expansion of edu-roam (eduroam.org) or a similar product in schools. This was briefly mentioned at a recent Scottish ICT Development Group (SICTDG) Meeting.

 

 

 

 

Comments (39)

Andrea Reid said

at 8:01 pm on Sep 8, 2011

Pilot leasing schemes in LAs - learning from how this has been taken forward elsewhere - look at how this can be done minimising risk to LAs and establishments
Work with business partners to look at investment in infrastructure for high speed broadband

nmgibb said

at 8:38 am on Sep 9, 2011

With regard to "the next generation of Glow, built upon freely available tools and services", where does Glow end and regular ICT use begin? There is plenty of good ICT practice evident in schools that exists entirely independently of Glow. Similarly, if a school has a perfectly viable email and collaboration platform why would it want to forfeit that for a potentially less effective, nationally provided service?

Stuart Lennie said

at 9:32 am on Sep 9, 2011

How can we convince a sole provider of telecoms in a rural region to change their existing lucrative "price by the km" model for a school with only 22 pupils in it?

jimbuchan said

at 4:59 pm on Sep 9, 2011

I would argue that the need for bandwith in a small/isolated school could be greater than a similarly sized school in a densly populated area. But the fact is that it will always be less costly to deliver a service in densly populate parts of the country on a case by case basis. This is due to economy of scale. But suppose we have a service that has been nationally negotiated so that provision of rural connectivity offered on the same tarrif as urban say on a bandwidth basis as opposed to distance basis might that work for users and suppliers alike?

FraserShaw said

at 11:00 am on Sep 10, 2011

Can I suggest simply taking the whole GLOW budget and spending it on decent broadband links to every school.

nmgibb said

at 6:46 pm on Sep 11, 2011

Sounds like a good plan

olliebray@... said

at 12:31 pm on Sep 10, 2011

@Fraser - A very good suggestion. The problem is I doubt there will be enough money in the budget? How do we get some of this pot of cash for the 'last mile' to improve the connectivity from LAs (which is very good - we pay for that nationally) to the school (which is funded by LAs and some have invested more than others) - http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8389.aspx

John Johnston said

at 7:09 pm on Sep 11, 2011

1. Given the comments elsewhere on the wiki about lack of teacher confidence in their ICT skills the idea of pupils bringing in a wide variety of devices might not work all that well. We also may get a digital divide between those whose parents can provide the latest & greatest and others who come with a basic mobile, end up with LCD communication, Leasing at reasonable cost with some sort of provision for the less able to pay sounds a better idea to me.

2. The LA I work in has invested in the network, and in most primary schools in wireless. This may have been at the expense of a better pupil-to-computer ration if Fraser Spears FOI request to Scots LAs gives an accurate picture: http://tinyurl.com/3o5uevo Hopefully investment by LAs in infrastructure can be balenced in some way.
@Fraser taking up this suggestion would not address your other concern: that 'teachers are institutionalised and are also frankly afraid of the internet'

FraserShaw said

at 3:01 pm on Sep 12, 2011

http://tinyurl.com/3o5uevo Hits the nail squarely on the head - stop dithering and open it up to schools thanks for that John - From The response I have had from Michael Russel and my LA I was starting to think I was alone. http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8389.aspx - this one takes me back to the Edinburgh tram project. There is money available - we just have to pressure the government. An outdated 19th century transport system for 1 city in Scotland or 21st century communication for the whole country?

hstar said

at 3:26 pm on Sep 15, 2011

I would agree with some of the comments that the GLOW budget could be better spent on access for all. Mobile devices and wireless networking is a fantastic tool if the school has access to greater bandwidth. We need to be practical with the money and use the technology already around and emerging to help support our teaching and the pupils' learning experience. This objective cannot happen until there is an era of teacher e-confidence in all schools.

Drew Burrett said

at 8:21 am on Sep 17, 2011

Google Map to survey WiFi access in schools - add your placemark at http://goo.gl/Maj5X

Joe Wilson said

at 6:41 pm on Sep 17, 2011

perhaps schools should also do a quick bandwidth available in school survey a simple ping test - guessing this might help too and can be driven by schools

Douglas Chappelle said

at 10:30 pm on Sep 20, 2011

What is the best way to measure the provision in schools? For years we have based it on the ration of pupils to computers. I think this is at best a crude measure, at worst incredibly misleading.
If you are pupil who, at course choice time in decides not to do computing or business or graphic communications then your weekly time spent at computer in school will plummet.
So perhaps a better measure would be the average number of hours pupils in each year group have 1:1 access to a computer each week.

Gillian Penny said

at 8:22 pm on Sep 23, 2011

In our school we have made some very effective use of ICT to enhance and transform learning. I would like to be able to say this is embedded across the curriculum and throughout the school. It is not. Not for lack of confidence or willingness on behalf of the staff and pupils but lack of access to hardware. To make available the kind of hardware that would be necessary for this to happen would wipe out my available budget many times over. I want the use of ICT to be fully integrated into the curriculum so teachers and learners use it naturally and by choice. When resources are spread so thinly too much organisation is required. Teachers need to book the laptops or ipads etc out well in advance. In reality this puts teachers off, they need to have the equipment to hand whenever they want it. We now need to look to other ways of funding this. We need to allow parents and young people to provide the devices to be used in school through affordable leasing schemes. I have floated this with some of the parents in my school and it has met with a positive reaction so far. I believe it is a necessary way forward.

Stuart Lennie said

at 3:06 pm on Sep 27, 2011

What we have to be very careful about is using a Capital budget to create an ongoing Revenue issue for Local Authorities. It's fine saying "improve bandwidth to all establishments" with a wad of cash to install lines and hardware to support the lines, but the reality is that you've just created a crippling ongoing annual rental charge. It's the same for hardware- the minute you purchase hardware you need to plan a budget for replacement.

We came to the conclusion that we cannot possibly afford to provide and maintain 1:1 ratios with hardware, so will now concentrate on providing wireless connectivity to pupil owned devices, provide means tested leasing schemes and target bandwidth improvements to those establishments most in need. We have identified and installed reliable wireless infrastructure and are about to provide pupil access for the very first time.

Alison Taylor said

at 1:32 pm on Oct 4, 2011

We need to create a culture of pupils taking their laptops, netbooks and ipads to school for work. This engages them in the use of ICT in practical ways and helps pupils with ASNs not feel different. Obviously those without personal ICT hardware need access to school equipment. More money is needed to provide equipment for all pupils.

waltatek@gmail.com said

at 1:19 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Stuart Lennie is right to warn about consequential charges to revenue budgets from capital investment programmes. Another dimension of this lies in the requirements to have regular and secure backup, and disaster recovery systems in place. These are not cheap, but could be procured to provide a shared service across regional clusters of LAs, schools, colleges and universities. The McClelland report on public sector IT services is in scope for this Objective.

Bruce Robertson said

at 12:17 pm on Oct 6, 2011

DO NOT get hung up with which platforms, which social networking channels, which devices. They will come and go. DO get hung up with broadband deprivation, BT education charges, wireless connectivity, corporate ICT madness in some Councils. Technical issues can get fixed and must be dynamic. It is the human capital that will make this work and particularly the vision, the leadership and the absolute focus on the needs of 21 Learners.

Neil Winton said

at 1:12 pm on Oct 6, 2011

Amen to that!

Stuart Campbell said

at 9:46 am on Oct 7, 2011

I recently held a Wireless LAN meeting involving representative from local authorities across Scotland to draw together experiences and to develop best practice guidelines that can be shared with all local authorities. The focus of the meeting was to allow pupils to use their own devices in the school.

Some the reasons that LAs want to open up the networks are:
Financial considerations:
• Limited budgets
• Avoid/minimise maintenance costs
Learning opportunities:
• Increasing numbers of devices
• Target ICT to the point of learning
• Free up locations used as ICT suites (to accommodate increased school roll)

The requirements are for the solution to provide:
• Internet access
• Filtering/monitoring/reporting
• Control how devices access the network
• Enable access to cloud-based services
• Comply with GSX/GCSX/GSi/PSN Code of Compliance
And to avoid:
• Limiting what devices can be added
• Changes to the configuration of a pupil device

Stuart Campbell said

at 10:08 am on Oct 7, 2011

On the subject of filtering....

I've gone around in circles on what we should and shouldn't allow. I've been the faceless man in Corporate IT responsible for the filtering rules and attempts to block Google images just avoid 'Katie' seeing pictures of Katie Price when she does an image search. But love her or hate her Katie Price has an omnipresent existence, she will be on the front of countless gossip magazines at the supermarket checkout next to the bars of chocolate. Chocolate sells!

When the authority I worked in first installed internet access (way back in the days of CREATIS) internet access at home was restricted to geeks like me that using a modem. We all know what sells on the internet and it's not chocolate. Local authorities filter access but how many homes do? Why then do we continue to spend so much effort on filtering in the classroom? To avoid being on the front of the newspaper created by the same publisher that sells the magazines next to the bars of chocolate?

Patrick Kirk said

at 10:56 am on Oct 7, 2011

I’ve been following the dialogue here and on Twitter and recently visited the Scottish Learning Festival, where I was hoping to gain more insight into the direction of travel for Glow. The Glow Q&A http://t.co/hGV9KQyF sheds some light but also raises questions.

Providing access to freely available tools and services is laudable and is essential in the current financial climate. However I think needs to be achieved with the following in mind:

• An identity management environment is still needed to be provided that understands the roles and access rights of all members of the Glow community but extending into new learning opportunities through transparent API’s (I have some thoughts on how this should work to make a truly extensible platform that invites innovation from the marketplace that I would like to explore through the new process). As Glow extends beyond the current schools based community it will be ever more important to ensure that those users that require protection are adequately safeguarded. In the future, filtering for instance, should be appropriate and based on a user’s role, learning activity, location and time – all factors which may be over-ridden. Filtering should be managed, not locked down and not used as a replacement for good classroom management, a method of limiting bandwidth requirements or in place of creating autonomous self-censoring Internet users.

Patrick Kirk said

at 10:57 am on Oct 7, 2011

• A single sign on environment will be needed that enables access to a user’s tools and services without multiple challenges for usernames and passwords – critical to minimise barriers to use. Single sign on should work for both free and paid-for services – recognising that there are wide range of services that schools use that are bespoke – i.e. they are specifically designed for education. It’s very easy for users that have the advantage of always using the same devices – whether desktop, laptop or mobile, to forget just how many services they access automatically as a result of the device storing their credentials. In an environment where a user has shared access to devices a centrally (wherever the centre might be) provided SSO and identity management environment is essential if teaching and learning is not to be interrupted by technology.

• There should be scope for a greater variety of devices, and the infrastructure should be implemented in such a way that users can bring their own devices and access resources without compromising security.

• Users of Glow have created significant content – both in terms of quality and quantity and mechanisms will be required to migrate the content and understand compatibility limitations in new services. Many users will not feel technically confident in migrating content themselves. Managing the migration will have to be carefully thought through and users will need support throughout the process.

• Migrating email will bring its own problems and users will have to determine whether historic email can be discarded, archived or migrated to the replacement system. Users must have choice on the type of migration / non-migration experience they receive and must not feel disenfranchised by the process.

Patrick Kirk said

at 10:58 am on Oct 7, 2011

• Glow Futures will need to be flexible, to be adaptable and change over time – but there will need to be coherence, a shared vision and strategy along with defined standards for interoperability and information transfer if the new tools and services are to work together, supporting the Curriculum for Excellence and raising attainment. By simply using freely available services the opportunities for creating an integrated environment that allows the re-use of information between services will be missed, creating a disconnected and chaotic environment where information exists in multiple silos and data sharing is difficult at best and most likely non-existent. Such chaos will not work – indeed if it could work it would have already taken off in the education world, such is the extent of freely available, useful but disconnected cloud services.

Patrick Kirk said

at 10:58 am on Oct 7, 2011

• The Scottish Government’s tender for Glow was innovative and refreshing; it recognised the successes achieved through the current infrastructure whilst acknowledging the weaknesses. It attempted to address the constraints currently imposed. It brought together opportunities for creating a new paradigm for an ICT infrastructure that supported not only education users but the wider Scottish community. There was the opportunity to create solid foundations on which the new Glow could build. The ability to create and integrate new services by both the contracted organisation and third parties (through the Marketplace concept) would have enabled a dynamic environment that would have encouraged the constant development of Glow and kept it up-to-date. Being able to integrate new freely available services through an open API would have made it easy to grow the range of services available. The opportunities that this would have presented to the Scottish Government for marketing Glow as a service that could be sold to users outside Scotland look as though they will not be achieved and hence the opportunity for the return of capital investment will be missed. The Glow Futures tender presented a once in a lifetime opportunity to create an ICT infrastructure that is totally aligned with the vision espoused through Curriculum for Excellence.

GKirk said

at 11:56 am on Oct 7, 2011

In the City of Edinburgh we have learned that when our next refresh happens Macs will not be supported. In the 21st century are we being told that BT cannot successfully cater for its customers? Why can we not choose to continue using Macs? Is there not the expertise available to implement a solution which will do the job? There are many businesses out there who successfully run networks linking Macs and PCs. Why are schools not doing this?

Stuart Campbell said

at 2:26 pm on Oct 7, 2011

One of the requirements of the current Glow services were that they could be delivered on Mac's and PC's. In my view future Glow services must be platform agnostic and be able to be delivered on any device supporting standard internet protocols.

Steven Grier said

at 2:53 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Totally agree here Stuart - Mac's, PC's, Tablets, Phones, Watches.....main brower s(given that is the lowest common denominator currently) to a reasonable currency e.g. current version minus 1 or current version minus 2 for security purposes.

Stuart Campbell said

at 2:33 pm on Oct 7, 2011

How much bandwidth do I need?

The US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has made some attempt to categorise users into four types:
• Advanced – 5-10Mbps (Symmetric)
• Full Media – 5Mbps
• Emerging Multimedia – 1Mbps
• Utility – 100-300kbps

The definition of each user type is:
• Advanced: These consumers use large amounts of data and tend to use the highest quality voice, video, and other cutting-edge applications.
• Full media: These consumers are moderately heavy users of broadband and mobile applications, seeking to access high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video communications but, typically not in the most cutting-edge forms.
• Emerging multimedia: These consumers utilize some video and graphical content but still see the Internet primarily as a way to communicate and access news and entertainment in a richer format than found in offline content.
• Utility: These consumers are largely content to access the Internet for basic news, communication, and basic entertainment.

Full report: http://download.broadband.gov/plan/fcc-omnibus-broadband-initiative-(obi)-technical-paper-broadband-performance.pdf

Stephen Arnott said

at 5:38 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Hi all

Picking up on Stuart Campbell's comments / issues surrounding student owned equipment in schools. One simple solution would be for Local Authorities to provide standard public internet access within the schools - either by using cheap ADSL lines or extending the Internet from their core to the edge of the network via various network solution (GRE tunnels for instance). In this way pupils can bring in their own equipment and connect to the internet with out every using the Corporate Local Authority network - this will remove some (but not all) of the issues Local Authorities will have with student owned equipment being connected to their networks.

One small point with this - someone would have to change GLOW so that access from the Internet is the same as access from within a LEA network!!

Just a thought.

Enjoy the weekend

As always comments / flames welcome

Kate Farrell said

at 9:34 am on Oct 9, 2011

We still have a great number of pupils who do not have access to a computer or the internet at home. We need some sort of Home Access scheme so kids in poverty or with additional support needs can get access to the internet at home otherwise these pupils will be increasingly disadvantaged. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage

waltatek@gmail.com said

at 12:16 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Kate - you are so right. I am hearing from some Glasgow secondary schools that more than 20% of their pupils do not have internet access at home. We must stop talking as though universal high-speed access is the norm.

Steven Grier said

at 12:51 pm on Oct 10, 2011

Hi Kate - Martha Lane Fox has been leading a program across the UK in conjuction with Microsoft, BT and a variety of partners on meeting challenge for ICT inclusion in both schools and wider population - Race Online 2012. One of the outputs from this is a site where refurbished PCs with warranty, security software, OS and productivity tools are available for between £99 (depending on benefits mix) to £169.00 for the PC and there are options for USB Broadband access.This is available UK wide. You can find it here http://www.getonlineathome.org/

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 12:36 pm on Oct 9, 2011

I have been using a laptop and interactive whiteboard for many years now (since the initial masterclass funding!) I have some great files that I have built up over the years and would find teaching difficult without this access. It doesn't matter where my files are-Glow, Google docs, the school network or my pendrive-the problem I have is the speed at which I can access them.
It is now taking me longer and longer to access anything on my 5 year old laptop to the point that is is getting offputting. I find the same problem in the suite when I am demonstrating at the teacher station.
I hate to sound negative as that certainly isn't how anyone would describe my attitude to ICT in education. I am enthusiastic and motivated by new technologies and have spent years encouraging others.
But I am becoming increasingly concerned about how hardware is going to be refreshed by the government. This is not a moan but a real problem that I and other teachers are facing every day at the chalkface! Without refreshed hardware and decent bandwidth speeds there is almost no point discussing anything else as they are too difficult to access.
Would love to come to the summit but can't because of family commitments. So I really hope that someone can bring up my point. Thanks.

Dorothy Coe said

at 1:12 pm on Oct 9, 2011

I have held back from commenting here because of precisely the point that Shirley makes as an enthusiastic user of ICT as a tool to enhance learning and engagement in my classroom who did not want to appear negative and also, I do not like to criticise without being able to offer a solution, and yet I don't have the technical expertise to come up with one.

I suffer the same frustrations as Shirley regarding slow speeds and creaking hardware. Because of this many teachers and children are now not developing the habit of using ICT appropriately because it just doesn't work, and in fact holds up teaching and learning. Why spend a while creating your fantastic adventure in say Comic Life only to find that the computer won't save it, and the system won't allow an external drive to be accessed? (We have RM CC3) Why have lots of excellent curriculum support software that takes forever to load and then crashes when you are half way through an activity? Why research online activities at home which require a current version of Flash which the school system will not let you download? When this happens repeatedly, teachers and children develop a response to learning that does not automatically include ICT.

I can see that from a commercial point of view cities with their the large population centres are where the best connectivity is located, yet paradoxically, towns and more rural settings are where it is perhaps more expensive per head, but also most valuable. I'd be pleased to see more investment in this aspect of provision for schools.

Neil Sinclair said

at 3:16 pm on Oct 9, 2011

There will be a limited budget for whatever we end up with. We should concentrate on the outcomes we want such as:
secure pupil logons and id protection
robust protection from accessing inappropriate content
mature and flexible user privileges management
well documented software and programming interfaces.

I remember an old system in our LA which worked just fine - based on Novell networking. We should consider the tools available through the open source suppliers, such as Novell / SuSE. If the tools are good enough for the likes of Google, Amazon, and running most of the internet servers out there, they should at least be considered for this project.

Open source programmers are the originators of many of the tools discussed here - including Wordpress. Open source software is platform agnostic - at least web-based content is - it has to be since most of the systems accessing content hosted on open source software are running proprietary software.

Since 2009 the government has been considering the case for open source software, as announced here:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7910110.stm
And more recently by Francis Maude: http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/government-cost-cutting-strategy-embraces-open-source-25311

I have to say my heart sank when GLOW started and I found out it was based on proprietary server software, which I was convinced was never designed to take the hit rate generated when Scotland's schools swung into action and demanded instant responses from the server. Imagine having to wait as long for Google to respond as we do for GLOW!

JohnM said

at 10:44 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Good post Neil, while not getting hung up about the platform, my reasons for moving to open source for operating systems as well as tools would be as follows:
1. A growing number of countries a round the world are moving to open source for education and government as well as some high profile companies. See here http://www.focus.com/fyi/50-places-linux-running-you-might-not-expect/
2. The majority of the web is powered by open source servers. This proves the robustness and reliability of the platform.
3. A growing number of mobile devices are running open source based OSs.
4. The lack of viruses in the open source domain.
5. The ability to utilise older computers as “thin clients” thereby increasing access to ICT in school.
6. The elimination of a “tie-in” to proprietary software and all the licensing costs that entails.
7. Exposing students to alternative operating systems would increase their skills and their opportunities for employment.
“In a small but growing number of the schools in the survey, teachers were planning for the long-term skills that pupils were likely to need. A small number of the schools had deliberately chosen to expose pupils to alternative operating systems: this equipped them with the generic and transferable skills for coping with rapidly changing technology rather than taught them the idiosyncrasies of just one platform which would quickly become out of date.”
OFSTED Report - The importance of ICT
Information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008

Some good perspectives on Open Source
http://opensourceschools.org.uk/schools-and-oss

The Government along with the local authorities have a duty to provide the maximum value for money from taxpayers £s especially in this economic climate – the way to do that is to maximise the spend on infrastructure and hardware and minimise the spend on software – open source should be the only ethical and economic choice.

Claire Griffiths said

at 5:26 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Leasing computers which are upgraded on a regular basis I think is one answer. Often you don't need a whole new computer but as with my own computer a new upgrated graphics card, an expanded 2 GB ram and here I am at year 6 with same single Pentium 3.4 Ghz processor. I am a challenge to it at times but I can access any site I want to and play any BBC flash games there is.

JimWard said

at 5:28 pm on Oct 10, 2011

We have reached a tipping point, where home access to ICT has overtaken the workplace and the education establishment. Schools can no longer afford to provide the rich experience pupils can experience in privileged homes, where internet access, modern computers, tablets, games systems and comfortable use provides a cultural learning environment that schools envy. Why resist that? Embrace it.

Soon, mobile phones will contain the BreadCrumbs of our lives. The computer we use in the classroom, will need to be able to access the content in our pocket. There are inexpensive ways of supporting that in the future. Cloud storage is one and needs explored in an educational context. iPads and Tablets will become pervasive. We ignore them at our peril.

It will take a radical rethink by Authorities as to how we support this pervasive and engaged future. In England, schools can go their own way and are. In Scotland, the Authorities need to embrace the culture and move with it. It doesn't have to be expensive!

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